Year-end functions are supposed to be a way for companies to thank and reward employees for a job well done, but if you’ve been saddled with organising one, you’ll know they can be a serious stress. And if you’ve been to a drab and strained end of year do, you’ll know it can do more harm than good to employee morale. An amazing corporate year-end function, though, will do exactly the opposite. Managing the wishes and preferences for a team of diverse employees is challenging, and it’s nearly impossible to please all of the people all of the time – especially if you’re going it alone and trying to plan an entire year-end event on your own. But it’s not all doom and gloom – these tried and tested tips will set you and your colleagues up for a great event that’ll have even the most cynical employees waxing lyrical around the water cooler come Monday morning.
Start thinking about it – now
Ask anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you it’s never too soon to start planning an event. It may come as a surprise, but the organisation for many of the world’s top annual festivals begins the day after the latest event finishes. While you may not be organising the next Rocking the Daisies, there’s no harm in laying the groundwork for your year-end or corporate function nice and early. You don’t have to lock everything down right away, but the sooner you can get a solid list of options and dates, the less last-minute panic there will be.
Keep options open
See a new rooftop venue opening up? Always wanted to snag a spot at an established year-end event? Spot a corporate tour that strikes the perfect balance? Write up a list of possible options as you spot them throughout the year – or better yet, make it a shareable document for all management and employees to contribute. Keeping a list of exciting ideas throughout the year may seem like overkill – but it’ll help with the last-minute panic when you’re drained of all inspiration in the final weeks of the year.
Get group consensus and create an organising team
Too often, all duties fall on an individual, and this pressure won’t be to anyone’s advantage. The best way to share responsibility is to get a group consensus and invite others to contribute to the function. Put out a call for assistance nice and early, and perhaps incentivise others to join with occasional team lunches or coffee breaks to talk shop and dream up the ultimate event. If you’re struggling to drum up support, create collaborative documents or polls using tools like Google Docs or Slack. Everyone can contribute their ideas, either publicly or anonymously – and nothing settles group indecision quite like a vote.
Know your budget
You can’t plan a party unless you know how much corporate cash you’re allowed to blow. Your budget will likely depend on several factors, but if it’s lower than you’d like, you may be able to motivate for more by putting together a compelling pitch. Prove to those with the corporate credit card that your suggestion of an epic craft beer or wine tour will inspire the team more than a few strong cocktails at a seedy inner-city bar will, and you may just get a few extra bucks to plug into a fantastic day out.
Know your audience
Does your company get behind Friday afternoon drinks and snacks? Keeping an eye out for how many people are tucking into the biltong, beer, and wine, for example, might lead you to a tour or event that offers something similar – in a more exciting environment than the office canteen.
Do something fun!
End of year parties don’t have to be predictable – why not include memorable activities instead of sticking to the same old? Take the team kayaking, bubble soccer, clay pigeon shooting, or paintballing – and wrap it all up with vibey drinks and snacks. Activities like these help you all skip the small talk you’ve been making all year and allow everyone to try something new and fun. We offer all of these activities as part of our group events and will take care of all the logistics to ensure a legendary end of year celebration.
Pick a suitable date and time
As soon as you’ve locked down your general ideas using the above covert and overt techniques, it’s time to pick a suitable date and time. Planning a year-end function too late in the year may be poorly attended. And one over your business’s busiest time may make it more stressful. Consider public holidays or special occasions like elections or major sporting events. It’s also nice to make sure senior management, board members, and VIPs are available – so be cognizant of their diaries. You can even get all collaborative again and create a poll for people to vote on the best dates. As soon as you’ve got a date, make a booking. Popular year-end options book up months in advance, and the sooner you can lock yours in, the sooner you can do what you want to without settling for your second choice.
Lean on professionals who’ve done it all before
If you forget all of the above tips, remember this one: lean on the pros who’ve done it all before. A company skilled at hosting guests from various backgrounds will maintain energy levels, cater to all tastes and requirements, and make sure it’s a year-end function to remember. Professional tour companies, like Kiff Kombi Tours, of course, can recommend corporate tours and group events based on your business’s specific dreams and requirements – allowing you to enjoy the day knowing you’ll get all the praise come Monday morning’s management meeting.